Colon Cancer Prevention Diets: Myths and Truths

The Colon Cancer Prevention Diet: Myths and TruthsFrom getting a colonoscopy in Los Angeles to exercising and following a healthy diet, you may take many steps to help yourself stay free of colon cancer. However, when it comes to a cancer-prevention diet, fact is sometimes difficult to tell from fiction. Many different dietary factors are purported to play a role in preventing colon cancer, but not all of them are as integral as some will tell you. Whether you already suffer from colon cancer or are trying to prevent its development, it will help to learn the truth about some of the foods most commonly claimed to play a role in cancer risk.

Organic Produce

Fruits, vegetables and other plant foods contain plant compounds like antioxidants that appear to affect our DNA and the way cancer cells spread and grow. Though any diet focused on cancer prevention should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, there is no definitive evidence that organic foods will make a difference. Some studies show us that organic foods have higher levels of phytochemicals and nutrients, but other studies find no such evidence, and pesticide residues on conventional produce appear to be generally within strict tolerance levels.

Because organic foods often come with a high price tag without definitive proof of benefits, they are not a cost-effective choice for everyone. We have no convincing evidence that conventional produce contains anything that causes cancer or other health problems, so don’t let the perceived threat of pesticides scare you away from conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Food Additives

Stories concerning the health effects of different food additives and chemicals are commonplace, but these substances do not seem to have any substantial connection to cancer risk. While it’s possible that nitrates, preservatives and other food chemicals contribute to health problems, there is no reliable evidence thus far—some preservatives have even been shown to have antioxidant properties.

However, studies do show us that refined grains and other highly processed foods can contribute to cancer risk. Even if concerns about food additives are largely unfounded, it may be best to avoid foods that contain them.

Red Meat

The evidence linking red meat to colon cancer is fairly strong. In a meta-analysis of 29 different studies on the subject, high consumption of red meat was shown to increase colon cancer risk by 28 percent, while high intake of processed meats of any kind can increase risk by 20 percent. This may be due to the impact that compounds like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) have on our bodies.

Though it seems safe to eat as much as 18 ounces of red meat per week, it is best to minimize your consumption of red meat, as well as any meat that is smoked, cured, salted or preserved. Fish, chicken and other lean protein alternatives make it possible to maintain a healthy diet while keeping red meat consumption minimal.

Eating a healthy diet will not help you prevent colon cancer quite like getting a colonoscopy in Los Angeles, but it can still be an asset in your prevention strategy. Speak with your colorectal specialist for more valuable tips on preventing colorectal cancer.